February 2018

New edibles to try

On Deck sweet corn, bred for growing in a container. Photo courtesy

Please don’t make me leave Indiana, but as a gardener I’ve only grown sweet corn once. It was a bust. The plants took up a huge amount of space in my small garden and none of the ears developed. Even raccoons turned up their noses.

I’m going to try again this year. I ordered ‘On Deck’ sweet corn seeds from Burpee, a new hybrid bred for containers. Burpee says to sow nine seeds of this supersweet variety in a 24-inch wide pot. Harvest should come in two months, with each 4-5 foot stalk yielding two or three 7-8 inch long ears.

Corn is wind pollinated, which is why it is planted in blocks, rather than long rows. I’m hoping that by having nine plants in one pot, the ears will pollinate well and I’ll have fresh-picked corn to eat this summer.

I’m going to grow the corn in a Smart Pot, a container made of fabric spun from recycled plastic bottles. I might even do two pots of ‘On Deck’ corn, planting the second one a couple of weeks after the first to extend the harvest. After all, I’ve had good luck growing potatoes in these pots. Gardeners are nothing, if not hopeful and optimistic.

A few years ago, I trialed ‘Peppermint Stick’ celery, a Ball Seed introduction, and I’m going to grow it again this year. It was delicious and very easy to grow. I ordered these seeds from Urban Farmer in Westfield, Indiana. I plan to grow the celery in a Smart Pot, too.

‘Peppermint Stick’ celery can be grown in a pot or in the ground. Photo courtesy Ball Horticultural Co.

Next up are ‘Short Stuff’ Chantenay carrots, which are also going in a Smart Pot. With husky, plump, 4-inch long roots, the sweet carrots should do fine. The seeds are from Renee’s Garden. Harvest is about 70 days from sowing. The shape and size should be perfect for roasting.

I’ll let you know how these new plants work for me. I hope you’ll try some new or different plants, too.

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